Introduction to mold in apartments
Now-a-days, Mold in apartments are a source of illness among tenants. This often results in deteriorating relationships between the building management and tenants. Moreover, continued problems can lead to broken lease agreements, loss of revenue and even lawsuits. The costs of mold remediation is generally high and those costs often become a factor for a managed multi family unit. As a result, they have to rely on their own maintenance staff to make repair which is not only the underlying cause of the mold problem but clean up the mold problem themselves. Oftentimes, maintenance personnel simply lack the knowledge to properly remediate mold. Unsuccessful, continued cleaning attempts often becomes a long process ultimately with a restoration company becoming involved, despite building maintenance attempts at cleaning.
The Mold in apartment are generally a fungus that is present in different. It often changes levels, in both indoor and outdoor environments. It is nearly impossible and impractical to have zero mold in a residential indoor environment. Generally speaking, under normal conditions mold will be lower inside than outside. In general, no government agency has established safe or acceptable exposure levels of mold. The problem with establishing mold exposure values is that mold can affect people differently. So exposure to molds (of various types) may affect one person, but not another.
Sometimes people blame mold in apartments when they are not feeling well. Sometimes, they are unable to attribute their health complaints to a particular cause. Especially here in central Texas, there are so many types of allergens. It’s often difficult to say that indoor mold exposure is the root source for particular allergy like symptoms a person may be experiencing.
However, the other side of the coin is that I have seen elevated mold conditions in many apartment buildings. Most of the time we can avoid such exposure through maintenance. Besides that, we can avoid it by proper cleaning after a flood or when mold is discovered.
Lack of maintenance
Probably the biggest area I see elevated mold growth in apartment buildings is due lack of proper maintenance of the HVAC system. As a licensed mold consultant, I recommend the cleaning procedures outlined in a publication by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association called the ACR-2013.
In a nutshell, the air conditioning coil will become dirty, growth will start on the coil and in the drain pan. The dirty system will produce too much moisture and lose its dehumidification properties caused by mold in apartments. Growth will spread into the distribution plenum and into the ducts. You will also see visible mold growth and the vents and in the duct boxes.
The remedy for this condition is a thorough cleaning of the entire system (mechanical unit, drain system, ducts, vents and boxes). Also any mechanical issues should be addressed to prevent the conditions from re- occurring.
Improper Clean Up
The other area where I see problems related to mold in apartment buildings is improper or inadequate clean up. Leaks and flood waters should be cleaned and dried immediately. Mold can growth in less than 48 hours. I have gone on jobs where they have let leaks continue for months before addressing the problem. Ongoing water intrusion problems generally result in mold growth and these conditions are where I usually find black mold (Stachybotrys) growth.
Many people are under the misconception that you can spray the mold with a “Mold Killer” and that will take care of the problem. However, mold remediation; proper clean up, requires the physical removal of the mold spores. Damaged drywall, wood, insulation, carpet, should all be removed. Most of the time, the air needs to be cleaned with commercial “HEPA” filters as well. Simply painting over mold with “Kilz” is inadequate to repair most mold damaged materials.